AND FIRE CAME DOWN
by EMMA VISKIC
Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic is used to meeting life head-on. Now, he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.
But when a young woman is killed, after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert, and simmering with racial tensions. As Caleb delves deeper, he uncovers secrets that could ruin any chance of reuniting with Kat, and even threaten his life. Driven by his own demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?
A stranger has a note for Caleb Zelic, leading him to a young woman wanting him to follow her. Communication is tricky, for Caleb is deaf, something he keeps hidden whenever he can, forgoing his hearing aid, preferring to rely on his other skills to compensate. What Caleb can make out is that she needs his help. It’s then that he’s attacked. After recovering enough to follow the frightened woman, Caleb sees the attacker in her wake, then she gets hit by a car. Caleb is familiar with Auslan, the language of Australia’s deaf community and, crucially, the woman manages to make a sign to him before her world goes black.
We first met Celeb in the excellent Resurrection Bay. His wife, Kat, reappears here, as do many other characters. Kat’s an Aborigine who wants a divorce. He is distance, reluctant to ask anyone for help. Despite this, Caleb does have one useful friend, Uri Tedesco, a cop. Caleb’s self-appointed mission is to find out who was chasing the woman. It’s a task that takes him from Melbourne, and back to where he grew up, in Resurrection Bay.
Families are at the heart of this story, Celeb’s yes, but also Portia’s, the young woman from chapter one. Parents, in-laws, partners; there’s trouble to be found at every turn. Drugs (dealers and addicts), shocking racism, biker gangs, an intimidated police force, there’s enough fuel for this fire of crimes. In a small town everything is interrelated and has consequences. How can Caleb get the answers he needs when his own life is in a mess? His efforts result in him facing the firing line himself.
All set amid the Australian heat and fires, AND FIRE CAME DOWN is an addictive mix of compelling characters and gripping plot. Emma Viskic has done it again.
RESURRECTION BAY has been shortlisted for the UK's prestigious CWA awards in two categories –– the Gold Dagger & the John Creasey New Blood Awards
About Emma Viskic:
Emma Viskic is an award-winning Australian crime writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers' Choice. Resurrection Bay was iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of 2015. She has also won the Ned Kelly and Thunderbolt Awards for her short form fiction. Emma studied Australian sign language (Auslan) in order to write the character of Caleb Zelic